A Arab parliamentary body called on Tuesday for suspending the membership of Syria and Yemen in the Arab League to put pressure on the two countries to heed popular demands for reforms.
An Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sept. 13 had called for "immediate change" in Syria and an end to a crackdown on protesters demanding that President Bashar al-Assad step down.
The latest figures released by the United Nations human rights office on Monday indicated that security forces have killed 2,700 protesters since the start of the uprising in March, including at least 100 children. The Syrian government says protests are led by armed gangs.
In Yemen, at least 68 people were killed in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Ali Abdullah Saleh since Sunday when frustration boiled over at Saleh's refusal to accept a power transfer plan mediated by Gulf Arab states.
"We call on the Arab states to freeze the membership of Damascus in the Arab League and urge the Arab leaders to take more active stands in that regard if the Syrian leadership did not... stop violence and withdraw its security forces and army... and form a national unity government from all political powers," said Tawfik Abdallah of the Arab Parliamentarians Political Affairs and National Security Committee.
Abdallah added: "We call on the Yemeni leadership to respond to the Yemeni people and accept the Gulf states initiative ... or we call on the Arab League to suspend the membership of Yemen in the Arab League and all its organisations."
Arab League officials have said on different occasions that they have not taken any decision on the crisis in Yemen as it has already been handled by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Some 176 Arab and international rights groups, including the New York-based Human Rights Watch, have asked the Arab League to suspend Syria's membership in the 22-member Arab League.
Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby has said that a decision to suspend Syria's membership of the league has to be taken by the Arab states not by the League's administration.
Elaraby, who visited Syria earlier this month, said he had discussed sending an Arab League fact-finding mission to Damascus at a meeting with Assad. He said Assad was "responsive" but the League would only be prepared to send a delegation once the crackdown stopped.
ReutersLast Mod: 21 Eylül 2011, 14:01